New 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Center Planned

Heather Mongilio  Arlington Now

The grassy patch of land that runs along Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd by the Pentagon is slated to be home to the new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center by 2020.

Site of the planned visitor center. Photo Arlington Now

Site of the planned visitor center. Photo Arlington Now

“The Pentagon is the only 9/11 attack site without a visitor center or museum to explain the historic significance of what happened on that day. Among the 500,000+ visitors who come to the Memorial each year, few know how different this location is from all others in Washington, D.C.,” said James Laychak, the president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, in a press release.

The new visitor center location is in front of the Pentagon Memorial and on the flight path taken by Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, killing 184 people on September 11, 2001.

“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location, right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial… This thoughtful arrangement creates a powerful backdrop to heighten the experience for visitors as they arrive at the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said on its website.

The organization is currently looking for sponsors to help it reach a goal of $75 million for the visitor education center.

Once the center is completed, visitors will be able to learn more about the September 11 events and the significance of the Pentagon Memorial through exhibits created from artifacts and content donated by the FBI, National Geographic, the Transportation Security Administration and National Museum of American History, among others.

The visitor center will help tell the stories of both the victims and survivors of the Pentagon attack and inform visitors about the U.S. response to the attacks. It will also offer walking audio tours.

“Tens of thousands of children and students come to the memorial each year and few know why this memorial is different from all others in Washington, D.C. in that it is located where the event took place. Many of those are eighth-graders on class trips that are too young to have experienced the tragedy of September 11. We do not want to miss out on these teachable moments,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said.

The visitor center is expected to open in 2019 or 2020, according to a spokesman.

Columbia Pike is slated to be realigned as part of a land swap between Arlington County and the military that will allow for Arlington National Cemetery to be expanded around the planned 9/11 visitor center.

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